What Does the Bible Say in Regards to Orphans?
As followers of Christ, we believe in turning to the Bible for direction in all areas of our life. We can see through many instances in God's Word just how important it is to our Lord that we be His hands and feet on this earth, and care for the oppressed, the orphans, and the neglected with whatever means He provides.
Matthew 25:34-40 states: Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
We pray that God would give us the grace to fully minister to Him through the care of others, each day of our lives.
The Bible provides the following guidelines in regards to orphan care:
-Like all mankind, orphans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27; 5:1).
-God cares deeply for plight of neglected persons of society and the orphans, and justice is demanded on behalf of the orphan.
Deuteronomy 10: 18-19 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 14:29 And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest.
Deuteronomy 16:14 And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.
Psalm 10:14 Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.
Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.
Psalm 146:9 The Lord preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upside down.
Jeremiah 49:11 Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.
-The Lord commands the church (if they seek PURE religion) to care for the orphans. And this command holds true throughout the ages! Visiting them IN their affliction. We are called to defend the orphan and advocate for them!
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
**The Greek word episkeptomai is translated here in James as "visit". Greek lexicographers and scholars both translate the word "episkeptomai" to mean holding oversight, looking after, caring for... It is used in the same context in Matthew 25 when Jesus said "ye visited me". This word holds much more weight than the "visit" we use today. **
Exodus 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 24:17-21 Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow's raiment to pledge:18 But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing: 19 When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy god may bless thee in all the works of thine hands. 20 When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.21 When thou gatherest the grapes of thy vineyard, thou shalt not glean it afterward: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow.
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
-The Lord promised His Divine judgement upon those who oppress or afflict the less fortunate. He sees this as an abomination.
Exodus 22:21-23 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. 23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; 24 And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.
Deuteronomy 27:19 Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.
Jeremiah 5:28-29 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. 29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
Jeremiah 22:3 Thus saith the Lord; Execute ye judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place.
Zechariah 7:10 And oppress not the widow, nor the fatherless, the stranger, nor the poor; and let none of you imagine evil against his brother in your heart.
Malachi 3:5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.
-Knowingly to disregard someone in need (including an orphan) constitutes unbelief and sin!
James 2:14-17. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
James 4: 17- Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
-Christ also commanded His disciples to let the children come to Him:
Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
It is our prayer that through God's grace, these afflicted, oppressed orphans would also come to Christ.
To God be all glory forever. Amen.